Let's try answering this.
So, what is a Pokemon?
|A Pokeball, one of the most confusing plot devices ever.|
That's right, the Pope was involved with the Pokemon phenomenon.
Which brings us to the Pokemon craze that hit in the late 90s and into today. To properly look at this we need to look at it in three parts: The video games, the TV series and the trading card game. From these three came everything else Pokemon created, from feature films to Pikachu underwear.
|Pokemon Blue: It and Pokemon Red sold over 9.85|
million copies in the US in 1998.
They're have been nearly a dozen versions of the original Pokemon game since its conception, and each generation released at least 100 new Pokemon bringing their total up to over 600 as of the end of this year. With this the trading and collecting has both improved and yet in some cases become unnecessarily complicated. Used to be to evolve your Pokemon you either put it in enough gladiator matches that it levels up, expose it to mysterious radiation from different colored rocks till it evolves, then presumably gets a tumor, or trade it to someone and hope they're not a jerk and give it back. These days some can't evolve unless they like you, they're holding a certain item, at a certain time of day, and you're in a certain location. I wish I was kidding. Some you have to breed in order to get their offspring (Again, where is PITA in this world?) while others have two or three forms so once you get one form you have to catch another one and start the entire process over again.
Needless to say that while the games still have a strong following, they've dropped in popularity over the years, and I'll explain why later.
|Foil Charizard was once the game's most|
valuable card-it sold for thousands at
Last but not least was the TV series, which has spawned nearly a dozen films. Now the main character in the Pokemon video games never spoke, that way the kids can imprint themselves in the game easier. So in order to make the TV series they had to add personality and dialogue, and since the main character traveled alone, they also needed to add sidekicks.
Meet Ash, Misty, and Brock.
|Brock, Ash and Misty. Ash of course looks confused|
I know a lot of people who remember the shows main antagonists fondly. Team Rocket's Jessie and James are bent on capturing Ash's Pokemon for some stupid reason, and they do so by using the most stupid elaborate contraptions and costumes you could think of. I remember episodes where Ash and the gang were doing some thing about friendship or love and boring me to tears and these people showed up to save the day with a giant robot. They're classic over-the-top cartoon villains you can't help but love.
But who cares about any of these people when we all know the real star of the show:
|Needs no introduction.|
This adorable little electric rat became the mascot of the entire Pokemon franchise after the show got big. Ash starts with him in his journey, something that's different from in the game, and they actually remade the first game into a version where you could start with Pikachu and you could see him follow you around. I've talked on this critter before so what I'll say now is that Pokemon would probably have been big without him but Pikachu is definitely the last piece to make this thing into a near cult experience.
So with all that being said, what was the big appeal? Honestly, Pokemon was just shameless fun. The collecting in the game and cards have the same connection any collection does, the combat was fun for the video game enthusiasts, and even the show, when they wrestled Ash off camera did have the occasional good action and some entertaining scenes.
So then why isn't it still so popular?
Honestly, this is an example of what happens when you have something amazing but don't ever do anything with it. The games died out when they became more about extra nonsense to do with your Pokemon then collect and fight them, and now they seem to be trying to get back to basics. The card game had too much nonsense at one point, hence why Nintendo had to take it back, but the damage was done and the game has yet to be as popular as it once was, and the TV series....
Well it never changed.
And that's the problem.
|A Pokemon battle. I have no context outside of that.|
This is my last thought: A lot of parents didn't like Pokemon because they knew it would eventually die out, and its always been questioned weather or not such fandom over a product is good or not. Honestly, I don't see the harm in it. Being into stupid fun stuff when you're a kid is part of being a kid, and the adults they become have something to look back on and laugh at. I got out of Pokemon when I decided I had outgrown it, no hard feelings against Nintendo or anyone else, I was just done. So while fads come and go, I'm glad I got to be part of this one.